Zimbabwe’s platinum output slipped two percent to 10 000 ounces during the fourth quarter of 2018 due to work in progress material processing in 2017, a new study has revealed.
According to the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) latest report, platinum output from Zimbabwe and Russia is expected to remain stable at 470 000 ounces and 675 000 ounces respectively.
“Supply from Zimbabwe fell by 14 percent year-on-year (-20 000 ounces) to 120 000 ounces, with the prior year period boosted by processing of WIP material,” WPIC said.
Zimbabwe has the world’s second biggest known platinum deposits after its neighbour South Africa. One of Zimbabwe’s three largest platinum producers is Zimplats? the other two are Mimosa and Unki. The council said global platinum demand is expected to increase by five percent to 7,7million ounces this year, owing to a significant increase in investment demand, which should offset weaker demand in the automotive, jewellery and industrial segments.
Supply would also likely increase by five percent this year, widening the market surplus, from 645 000 ounces in 2018, to 680 000 ounces. During the year 2018, total platinum supply fell marginally to eight million ounces, owing to lower mining supply and a modest increase in recycled platinum.
Refined production was down one percent to six million ounces, with notable decreases in Zimbabwe and Russia while South African production increased one percent year-on-year as a result of a low level of disruptions.
Platinum demand contracted by five percent to 7,3 million ounces, which resulted in a surplus of 645 000 ounces.
Low levels of demand were attributed to declines in jewellery, automotive and investment demand, which outweighed improved industrial demand.
WPIC said the 2019 forecast now foresees a 680 000 ounces surplus versus the prior estimate of 455 000 ounces, due to temporary higher refined production in South Africa and supply growth elsewhere more than offsetting increased demand in 2019.
Total demand in 2019 is forecast to rise five percent this year, compared to 2018.